Today has been a marvelous day.

On the one hand, it has not seemed as if we have done a lot on ministry today … but on the other hand, I am well aware of much that HAS taken place (and probably unaware of other things that have happened.)

Cheri, Doug, and I met with Pastor Pedro, Mabel, and Adam this morning for a brief (2 hours long) Orientation Meeting.

{Now I do need to stop here for a moment. Doug says that I always feature in my missions blogs the foods I have eaten for the day. Not wanting to break that habit, I do want to include that for breakfast, I had huevos, sausage, ham y queso accompanied by cafe con leche y jugo de sandia. Now, back to the other important stuff … }

At this meeting, we were briefed on the plans for the next several days. There was a visible disappointment in Doug’s face as we discovered that we would be unable to do physical labor at Mi Casa Azul … but that was quickly taken care of when Pastor Pedro announced to us that Mi Casa Azul was being used for leverage in order to purchase a newer and larger (almost twice the size) blue house for the ministry purposes. With the leverage, this newer, larger house is only going to cost the ministry foundation about $4,700 USD. So a little bit of excitement ensued as I told Pastor Pedro that we had brought $1,000 USD with us for the Blue House project.

We left that meeting to have lunch with the foundation board members of Palabra, Pan, y Pez who are those who work directly with the Mi Casa Azul project there in La Cruz. Erika and Margarita were visibly moved when I presented the $1,000 US to them. They realized that I had basically 1/5 of the project purchase monies that they needed. They were in tears … which brought us to tears as we witnessed these two beautiful women’s love and devotion for these children and mothers in La Cruz.

Cheri will be teaching these mothers of La Cruz tomorrow morning and I cannot wait to see what God does in and through her. I do know that Pastor Mabel is giving up her time with the moms because she so much feels what Cheri is to give.

{OK, time for a food break here … for lunch I had jugo de guanabana con leche and the famous local lunch plate, bandeja paisa, which has quickly become one of my favorite plates. (I know that I can never fully become “paisa” here , but it doesn’t hurt to try to as much as possible … I love these people.) I finished up this meal with a cup of cafe negro … Mmmmmmm good!}

Doug was also visibly moved in this meeting because he saw the ladies’ hearts for La Cruz and the children and moms there. He was also deeply moved … to the point of being choked up and almost in tears … in fact he couldn’t eat all of his lunch … because God revealed a new purpose for Doug to be here … it, in part, is to do some manual labor with woodwork in order to help funds for Mi Casa Azul and Palabra Pan y Pez. (Doug was also moved as he felt led to give his lunch to a local homeless person and found one immediately outside the door to the restaurant.)

I will have to say that it was with some difficulty that I had to tell the ladies why our team was so diminished from what we had originally planned (That’s two school groups and a group of carpenters who backed out because of perceived danger levels.) But by the same token, we all realized … sitting right there around the table … that God’s plans are much greater than ours and that He had a different idea all along. Wow.

Erika shared with us the committees ideas to raise monies for Mi Casa Azul project and we all began to realize that this was something we all could wrap our hearts and hands around … even involving children … because they could participate for as little as fifty cents each.)

After this profound meeting, we all came to our rooms for a bit. Doug went to login to the hotel computer, I laid across the bed to pray about Sunday’s services, and Cheri went and had a Colombian pedicure/manicure … and yes, I did make fun of her because I really didn’t know how that would go … she speaks no Spanish and the ladies caring for her spoke no English … but all went very well and she came back with beautiful hands and beautiful feet. Shame on me … but God has blessed me with a beautiful wife.

Now for the wrap up. We were picked up for supper by Raphael who took us to meet Pastor Pedro. We ate at one of my favorite Colombian restaurants, Crepes and Waffles where I had jugo de fresa and some camarónes con rojo curry. Then Cheri and I split an ice cream sundae with Caramel, Pedro shared his passion fruit sundae with me, and Raphael shared his tiramisu ice cream with me. ( I am REALLY going to have to work on this weight thing when we get back home.) And of course, I had some more wonderful Colombian cafe, this time as cafe latte con vainilla, What an excellent night.

Tomorrow’s clothes are ironed, I am getting prayed up, and words are coming to our hearts as we prepare for ministry tomorrow morning in La Cruz and for the possibility of speaking at a youth service tomorrow afternoon … then three services Sunday AM.